11 Different Types Of Service (Assistance) Dogs



Service dogs (also called assistance dogs) are a category of working dogs.

They can fill a number of different roles and carry out different tasks for people with mental or physical disabilities, depending on the special training the dog receives. This allows the person a certain quality of life or independence they may not otherwise have.

Different breeds of dogs may be commonly used for types of different services.

In the guide below, we’ve listed some of the different types of service/assistance dogs.


(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)


Different Types Of Service & Assistance Dogs


1. Guide Dogs

  • Help the blind and visually impaired
  • Common tasks might involve helping their owner navigate around, as well as potentially alerting them about hazards and risks


2. Hearing Dogs

  • Help those who are deaf of visually impaired
  • Might be trained to exhibit certain behaviors or actions for their owner when the dog hears or sees certain things. 


3. Diabetic Alert Dogs

  • Can help those with diabetes
  • Trained to identify certain smells from the breathe or sweat for example (or the body in general), that indicate high or low blood sugar levels. They can prompt their owners to test their blood sugar level if it’s too high or low


4. Seizure Alert Dogs

  • Can help those who might be prone to seizures, such as those with epilepsy
  • Seizure alert and response dogs are trained separately for different skill sets
  • Seizure alert involves being able to alert the owner that a seizure might be about to happen


5. Seizure Response Dogs

  • Can help those who might be prone to seizures, such as those with epilepsy
  • Seizure alert and response dogs are trained separately for different skill sets
  • Seizure response dogs are trained to respond in the event of a seizure. They can for example trigger a help alarm, and/or bark to try to attract help, and remain calm until help arrives


6. Psychiatric Service Dogs

  • Can help people with a range of psychiatric conditions/issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and so on
  • They can perform a range of tasks from calming and emotionally supporting their owner, to guiding them to stay away from certain triggers


7. Mobility Assistance Dogs

  • Help people who might have a range of mobility problems
  • Can perform many tasks in the home or out in public such as fetching certain items, assisting with a wheelchair, pulling or guiding certain items, and so on


8. Autism Support Dogs

  • Help people with autism
  • Can be a friend, but can also provide support and have a calming effect. Can also help with socialization with other people


9. Allergy Detection Dogs

  • Helps people with a range of allergies
  • Trained to sniff out the presence of certain foods or ingredients or substances that could trigger an allergic reaction in humans
  • An example is a dog trained to detect nuts like peanuts


10. FASD Dog

  • Helps children who had fetal drug or alcohol exposure, and now has for example fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • One of the things they are trained for is behavior disruption and interruption 


11. Therapy (& Facility) Dogs

  • Therapy dogs are not always technically service/assistance dogs, but might be under certain circumstances
  • They can be used in places such as hospitalsretirement homesnursing homesschools, libraries, hospices, or disaster areas.
  • They can be used for people undergoing physical and mental therapy, and might be used for things such as comfort and support
  • Note that there is a difference between a facility dog (trained by an accredited assistance dog organisation), and a therapy dog which is trained by it’s owner 


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